Future's coming much too slow…
- “Peace of Mind,” Boston
Most of us work hard and hope to reap rewards somehow from our work. Some may seek financial return, others recognition, and others simply the basic mirror of their efforts : "I see who you are and what you're doing. Good job."
As time passes, and these basic aspects do not manifest in the timely manner we would appreciate, thank you very much, it is natural to begin to wonder, "Ok, when, already? I'm not getting any younger..."
The 'fullness of time' takes on an additional layer of meaning for those whose efforts are in a creative field. Fear may begin to set in, and that can affect the creative process.
So for all the writers, poets, sculptors, painters, actors and other inspired beings at OS, who may be considering throwing in the towel on their dreams, especially if they are at mid-life or beyond -- here are a few late bloomers to help you keep the faith.
Theodore Seuss Geisel, or Dr. Seuss
"For 53 years," snarls the Grinch of his holiday plight in the beloved tale How the Grinch Stole Christmas! He says 53 years, because that is how old Dr. Seuss was when he hit his stride with this book and The Cat in the Hat.
He was born on March 2, 1904. He would publish 44 children's books known for imaginative characters, rhyme and unique design, and in fact changed how we taught the alphabet with his lively book on the ABC's.
His other celebrated books include Green Eggs and Ham, One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, and Horton Hears a Who! which has been made into a stage play and a recent movie featuring Jim Carrey.
Mary Higgins Clark
This woman spoke at my graduation ceremony at Fordham University and her speech was one I wouldn't forget.
Possibly the most renowned mystery writer of our day, she was born Mary Theresa Eleanor Higgins on December 24, 1927 in the Bronx, New York.
In 1964, her husband passed away, leaving the young widow to care for their five children. She did do some writing, mostly four-minute radio scripts to help pay the bills. A dedicated mother, she focused on raising her children and didn't give herself completely over to writing until they had grown up.
It was then that she wrote her first suspense novel, Where Are the Children?
It was published in 1975 and was an instant bestseller. She was 48 years old.
Over the next few decades, Clark would write more than two dozen suspense novels that would sell over 80 million copies in the United States alone, serve as president of Mystery Writers of America, and as Chairman of the International Crime Congress. She is the inspiration for the Mystery Writers of America's Mary Higgins Clark Award.
Howard Zinn was born in August 1922 and passed away earlier this year.
A prolific writer, his topics focused on civil rights, civil liberties and anti-war movements. he wrote more than 20 books, including The Pentagon Papers and You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train.
But the book that earned him his perennial, even legendary, status in progressive circles was his best-selling and influential A People's History of the United States, published in 1980. He was 58 years old.
Johnny Depp became a world-renowned star the moment he hit the small screen in 21 Jump Street, with his heartthrob pout, chiseled cheekbones, and 80’s hair dipping below one eye.
Viggo Mortensen, of similar age, cheekbone, and hair dip, did not.
Officially, Viggo’s career began around the same time as Depp's -- in 1984 in the award-winning TV mini-series “George Washington” that starred Barry Bostwick in the title role. However, it would require seventeen more years of perseverance as an actor to become a recognized name.
It wasn’t until he was cast as the King in the epic cult film Lord of the Rings (2001) that Viggo Mortensen achieved celebrity as a leading man – by then 43 years old.
We can't have a reflection on late bloomers without including the artist known as Grandma Moses, who began painting in her 80's.
Born Anna Mary Robertson Moses in 1860, she is the person most often cited as "an example of an individual successfully beginning a career in the arts at an advanced age."
The press eagerly dubbed her "Grandma Moses," and it stuck.
Her style brings to mind a kind of edgier, more contmporary Currier & Ives view of the American landscape, and her paintings were selected to publicize numerous holidays, including Thanksgiving, Christmas and Mother's Day. Further, her public exhibitions were so popular that they broke attendance records for galleries around the world.
Still, a Mother's Day Feature in a 1947 issue of True Confessions demonstrated her humility and her values: "Grandma Moses remains prouder of her preserves than of her paintings, and proudest of all of her children, eleven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren."
In 1950, the National Press Club cited her as one of the five most newsworthy women of that year, and at age 88, Mademoiselle magazine named Grandma Moses “Young Woman of the Year.” LIFE magazine helped her celebrate her 100th birthday with a cover.
Ok, then... back to work.